Book Review: Where The Stars Still Shine

Where The Stars Still Shine CoverBook: Where The Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Expected Publication is September 24, 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s|Expected Number Of Pages: 352

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Where The Stars Still Shine is an e-ARC from netgalley.com, which has not influenced my review in any way

Goodreads|You can find Trish Doller on Twitter and Facebook

Goodreads Summary: Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She’s never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love–even with someone who seems an improbable choice–is more than just a possibility.

I think my thoughts on Where The Stars Still Shine are some of the weirdest thoughts I’ve ever had about a book, but in a totally good way. I really like Where The Stars Still Shine, but I also have mixed feelings about it, and I’m not completely sure what to think.  I have no clue if that makes sense, but that’s where my thoughts are.

I liked seeing Callie go from living with a mother who didn’t seem to take her into consideration to living with a father who wanted a daughter that Callie wasn’t able to be.  She definitely struggled with feeling like she belonged and having people who get worried when she decides to wander off in the middle of the night.  I totally understand that her mom wasn’t around a lot, and Callie spent a lot of time on her own, and had to fend for herself.  And so I can totally understand that it would be hard to adjust to living with someone who is there, and actually worries when she keeps wandering around town and not telling anyone where she’s going.

Her loyalty to her mom was frustrating, especially with what happens after Callie goes back to Florida to live with her dad.  Her mom is not a likable person, and she wasn’t supposed to be likable, but it did get frustrating because her mom totally didn’t deserve it, in my opinion.  I understand why her mom acted the way she did (to some degree) and I can understand not wanting to take meds but Callie also deserved better.  I suppose I can relate to Callie’s loyalty, because it is the only thing she’s ever known, but that didn’t make it less frustrating to read.

I also liked seeing Callie re-connect with her family after being gone for so long.  Also interesting was her relationship with her step-mom and half-brothers.

Here’s the thing that I have really mixed feelings about: her relationship with Alex.  I just didn’t care for their relationship and it was hard to stay interested in them as a couple when she get ditching her family for him.  She made an effort to do things with him, but not her family, and that got a little old after a while.  I also wasn’t expecting it to be such a big part of the novel.

I was reminded of If You Find Me, which has a pretty similar plot and deals with similar issues as Where The Stars Still Shine.  I didn’t pay too much attention to Callie’s education, but she only finished kindergarten, because moving around all the time would definitely make it hard to stay in school.  I’m kind of surprised her dad didn’t push the issue, but at the same time, she only has a kindergarten education, so Callie would have a lot of catching up to do.

I do feel bad for her dad, because his daughter came back as a complete stranger that he’s not sure how to parent.  He’s doing the best he can, and Callie certainly didn’t make things easy for him.  I do think he clung to his memories of Callie as a small child and had ideas of who she was and what she was like, and I’m sure his image of her didn’t match up with who she really was.

Final Thoughts:

My mixed feelings seem to be focused on Alex and Callie, but other than that, I really enjoyed Where The Stars Still Shine.  I liked seeing Callie struggle with her place in the world.  Where The Stars Still Shine gets 4 stars.

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